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Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-09-14
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1000 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2014-08-14 7:38
Viewed: 1657
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Taken from the car window with a beanbag as support.
Source: A very interesting internetpage about almost all the owls of the world: www.owlpages.com:

The first published report of the Burrowing Owl was by Giovanni Iganzio Molina, an Italian Jesuit priest stationed in Chile. His description appeared in a book he wrote on the natural history of the country in 1782.The Latin word "cunicularius" means mine, or miner - an apt description for a bird that makes its home beneath the ground.

Description: A small ground-dwelling Owl with a round head and no ear tufts. They have white eyebrows, yellow eyes, and long legs. The Owl is sandy coloured on the head, back, and upperparts of the wings and white-to-cream with barring on the breast and belly and a prominent white chin stripe. The young are brown on the head, back, and wings with a white belly and chest. Burrowing Owls are comparatively easy to see because they are often active in daylight, and are suprisingly bold and approachable. The females are usually darker than the males.
Burrowing Owls fly with irregular, jerky wingbeats and frequently make long glides, interspersed with rapid wingbeats. They hover during hunting and courtship, and may flap their wings asynchronously (not up and down together).

Size: Length 22-28 cm Wingspan 51-61 cm Weight 170-214g

Voice: The main call is given only by adult males mainly when near the burrow to attract a female. A two-syllable "who-who" is given at the entrance of a promising burrow. This call is also associated with breeding, and territory defence.

Hunting & Food: Burrowing Owls feed on a wide variety of prey, changing food habits as location and time of year determine availability. Large arthropods, mainly beetles and grasshoppers, comprise a large portion of their diet. Small mammals, especially mice, rats, gophers, and ground squirrels, are also important food items. Other prey animals include: reptiles and amphibians, scorpions, young cottontail rabbits, bats, and birds, such as sparrows and horned larks. These Owls are quite versatile in the ways they capture prey. They chase down grasshoppers and beetles on the ground, use their talons to catch large insects in the air, or hover in mid-air before swooping down on unsuspecting prey. They also watch from perches, then glide silently toward their target. Burrowing Owls are primarily active at dusk and dawn (crepuscular), but will hunt throughout a 24-hour period, especially when they have young to feed.
They also eat fruits and seeds.

Breeding: The nesting season begins in late March or April. Burrowing Owls are usually monogamous but occasionally a male will have 2 mates. Adults usually return to the same burrow or a nearby area each year. 6 to 9 (sometimes up to 12) white eggs are laid a day apart, which are incubated for 28-30 days by the female only. They leave the nest at about 44 days and begin chasing living insects when 49-56 days old.

Mortality: Burrowing Owls are able to live for at least 9 years in the wild and over 10 years in captivity.
They are listed as endangered, threatened, or a species of special concern in most states and provinces where they occur.

Habitat: Burrowing Owls are found in open, dry grasslands, agricultural and range lands, and desert habitats.

Subspecies: There may be up to 21 subspecies, including:
Athene cunicularia cunicularia - North Chile from Taracapá to Cautín, Argentina to Paraguay, Rio Gradne do Sul in South Brazil, Uruguay, and South to Tierra del Fuego. Another name for this race is Athene cunicularia partridgei.
Athene cunicularia grallaria - dry interior of Brazil from Maranho & Piauhy south through Goiás & Bahia to Southeast Mato Grosso and Paraná.
Athene cunicularia hypugaea - British Columbia east to Central Manitoba, south to Mexico & west Panama.
Athene cunicularia floridana - Florida.
Athene cunicularia troglodytes - Hispaniola, Beata & Gonave in Caribbean.
Athene cunicularia rostrata - Clarion Island off the west coast of Mexico.
Athene cunicularia nanodes - Pacific coast of Peru to North Chile - a small desert form, It is likely that Athene cunicularia intermedia is the same as this race.
Athene cunicularia brachyptera - Margarita Island and North and central Venezuela - very short wings. Athene cunicularia apurensis is probably the same race.
Athene cunicularia tolimae - West Colombia. Athene cunicularia carrikeri may be the same as this race.
Athene cunicularia juninensis - Andes of Peru, south to Andean regions of West bolivia & Northwest Argentina. Athene cunicularia punensis is probably the same as this race.
Athene cunicularia boliviana - Arid habitats in Bolivia and North Argentina.
Athene cunicularia minor - Savanna of upper Rio Branco in Brazil and adjacent parts of Guyanna & Surinam.
Athene cunicularia pichinchae - Andes of West Ecuador.
Athene cunicularia guadeloupensis and Athene cunicularia amaura are now extinct.
Athene cunicularia hybugaea - Western States of USA, South west Canada, Mexico.
Athene cunicularia hispaniola - Nicaragua, Costa Rica.

marius-secan, Hotelcalifornia, Hussain58, senn, Chiza, anel, Alex99, Silvio2006, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To oscarromulus: serverPeterZ 1 08-15 08:28
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter,
Nice specimen of bird. Superb.....a masterpiece with excellent clarity and sharp details with contrast against the background
Thanks for sharing this nice specie of bird.

Hello Peter-Precise and Useful NOTE and a stunning picture.Excellent quality to me.Very good details and sharpness.I like its majestic pose.Good composition.Thanks for sharing.Regards-Srikumar

hallo Peter
SUPER mooie opname goed van scherpte en een leuke pose met die gedraaide kop
aparte achtergrond die er goed bijpast
bedankt weer
gr lou

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2014-08-14 10:49]

Hallo Peter,
A lovely capture of this owl ..
Very nice presentation of this Burrowing Owl in good sharpness, details and fine natural colours.
Best wishes,

Hi, Peter,
You write these notes so meticulously and with precision. I'm surprised to note that most of the TN members that view your page hardly ever mention your painstaking work.
The image despite your difficulties is outstandingly SUPERB.
Many years ago I had seen a whole family of this tiny species by the side of the country side road; had no camera with me.
Appreciate your work.
Best and most kind regards from Mario in Canada ... My server, Telus, is still working on the "situation". I have discovered "other" means of successfully participating on/with TN members.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2014-08-14 16:20]

Hi Peter,very curious location to take the pic as i read in your note,but the result is fantastic,impossible to make better,the detail and the colors are impressive,i like it! Have a nice WE and thanks,Luciano

GREAT IMAGE.........

Hi peter,
an incredible pic of this little owl. When I try to get these birds they normally fly away just in the moment I am going to press the exposer button!!

Hello Peter,

Hope you are doing fine.This is absolutely top class!And from a car window, only an expert photographer with the help of a beanbag can work such wonders.....smile! Thanks a lot for sharing an absolute beauty captured with the skill which few are capable of, take care,

warm regards/Abid

  • Great 
  • senn Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 2 N: 155] (1384)
  • [2014-08-15 8:57]

what a beautiful take and impressive pose peter !.. great detail from the feather and subject perfectly exposed; .. quality photography of the species
nuri :)

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2014-08-15 9:23]

Hola Peter, que belleza de ave y una foto magnífica, foco impresionante, nitidez, color y detalles de la especie, en una excelente percha y un fondo de lujo...saludos.

  • Great 
  • Cobo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 1 N: 535] (5799)
  • [2014-08-16 1:08]

Very good picture Peter. Congratulation. Saludos.

Impressive bird and Impressive pose Peter! Another great photo with good composition, wonderful lighting and good sharpness!

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2014-08-17 9:19]

Hi Peter,
A marvellous capture from close range. Amazing colours,nice composition and perfect details.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2014-08-19 4:17]

Hello Peter,
Love owls in general. I also like the funny attitude of this one taken from your windowcar. Excellent sharpness and square presentation.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2014-08-28 8:13]

Hi Peter.
I fell in love with this wonderful bird. Simply amazing specimen and the highst quality shot. All is simply great, including vivid colours and sunlight, stunning details and charming pose of the bird, the most impressive canvas behind it created by blurred image of the tree. Bravo. Perfect job.

Ciao Peter, fantastic owl in great pose, fine details, splendid sharpness and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hi Peter,
Even through car window and with a beanbag instead of a tripod, a photo not to be missed. Except for the minimally cropped nail / leg a fantastic photo: pose of the bird, eye contact, lights, sharpness, shallow depth of field, colors are fantastic all. One of the best owl photos on the site. Bravo.
Best regards, László

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